To say a new PVRIS album was long anticipated would be a massive understatement, and today marks the awaited release of Use Me, the alternative pop-rock project’s third studio album.
Use Me starts with “Gimme A Minute”. What immediately caught my attention is how this album opened with Lynn’s ghostly vocals– similar to the first song off of All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, and how it almost feels like a musical soliloquy, crescendoing to make for an aggressive yet bouncy intro to the album.
The second track, “Dead Weight”, was the single that I liked the most in this album cycle. Not only is it extremely catchy with a well written chorus, but it introduces listeners to a new sound while still keeping the elements anyone familiar with PVRIS would associate with their music.
“Stay Gold” seemed to be the favorite song and chorus of many upon the album’s release. The track itself isn’t bad, but there really wasn’t anything that grasped my attention– at least, not as much as the song that follows. “Good To Be Alive” briefly dials back the energy listeners might have gotten used to from the first three songs, and though it’s soft-spoken, it’s anthemic. Delivering introspective and blunt lyrics like “it feels good to be alive, but I hate my life”, it’s a very relatable song.
“Death of Me” sounds straight out of PVRIS’ White Noise-era, a sound many listeners would admit to cherishing dearly, and is a likely candidate for becoming a fan favorite. You might remember “Hallucinations” from the EP by the same name PVRIS released last year, but the song feels more useful placed in the middle of the album.
If there’s a peak to this album, “Old Wounds” is it. The vocal delivery on this song takes center stage and captivates its listeners for what’s arguably the album’s most emotional moment. “Loveless” is stripped back, simplistic, and immediately shows listeners PVRIS’ sound in its most pure, raw, and vulnerable form. Seeing as Lynn’s vocal harmonies accompanied by an acoustic guitar are the only two components in most of the song, the lyrics are what I paid attention to the most. This song approaches the catharsis found in surrendering to emotion in a calm, quiet manner.
Though I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, “January Rain” feels like an ode to older mainstream pop I still love to this day. The balladic melody pairs exceedingly well with a hip-hop esque beat and haunting background sounds, capturing the spirit of PVRIS’ sonic identity.
The title track “Use Me” features hip hop artist 070 Shake, an artist that’s recently become one of my most played; to say the least, I was equally curious and enthused about this collaboration. Shake’s voice serves as a darker, deeper counterpart to Lynn’s and the song is laced with string and industrial sounds throughout.
“Wish You Well” is the album’s goodbye and concludes its narrative on the note of banishing the hurt, loss, and subsequent moments of self-acceptance previously discussed in the former tracks in favor of healing. Something I appreciated throughout the album was that no matter how dark or gloomy a song might have gotten, pretty much everything kept an upbeat and danceable tempo.
Marketing for this album cycle made it seem like PVRIS was more of a solo endeavour of Lynn Gunn’s rather than a full-band project, and this album proved it entirely appropriate, as anyone who listens to PVRIS probably knows she’s the musical genius behind it all. The album wasn’t as exciting or memorable as I may have hoped for it to be, but nonetheless– credit deserves to be given where its due. Use Me doesn’t just sound like Lynn’s declaration of taking the reins, though– if anything, it’s a refreshing reintroduction to her project and carves a clear path for listeners’ expectation of future music. Stream Use Me and reacquaint yourself.
Favorite tracks: January Rain, Old Wounds, Use Me